Reporting the Belo Debate ... Perry wins
Fri January 29, 2010 8:15 pm

On the air

Perry looks more comfortable so far.

First question, the corridor. Was it a mistake? Perry says, wasn't a mistake to have a vision. Blames governors who didn't do anything before him. We had to come up with a way to move people. He had a big smile, looked more comfy than last time.

To KBH, concealed carry laws? Metal detectors in our Capitol? Hope not. Lighting is not good for her, and she has to look to the right to talk to the moderator, not toward the camera.

To Medina, you called Perry a frat boy? are you talking about issues? She says, he's looking at everything through rose colored glasses.

Wayne Slater -- Need to build highways, $300B or more needed. Only 3 choices--taxes, debt, more toll roads. Be specific (to KBH) how to we meet those needs. KBH -- I want to do an audit of TXDOT, need more leadership there. I will reform TXDOT. I knew she would duck this. Says never a tax increase without a vote of the people. Slater follow up--which is necessary. She says, if we need more revenue, and I'm not convinced we do, I would reform TxDOT. ...Medina, that $300B you say is not a hard number, it's the highway lobby, I'm not convinced that's what we need.

Now to Perry, debt, taxes, tolls. Perry ducks it to start, we have an audit every two years. He starts with diversions. I'm against the gas tax, bottom line, private sector, we'll need to take tolls to build them, but those roads that are free will still be there. KBH says we only get 70 cents per dollar from Wash, Perry wrong. She says txdot web site

? to Medina -- illegal immigration, not convinced that e-verify is the solution, must protect private prop along the border. We want a healthy immigration process.

Perry -- e-verify a federal program, and speaking of the fed gov't, that's where the problem lies. Incidentally, she voted for against sanctuary cities. Washington must send money to defend our borders. e-verify won't do anything unless we defend border first. kbh -- SHAME on governor, even the truth tests say I voted against sanctuary cities. e-verify is the best protection we have. (It's really unfortunate, KBH is set up so that she has to look off camera).

Medina -- we know that Tx driver's license is good ID, but we issue drivers license to illegal immigrants.

To Perry -- U took $12B in federal stimulus, won't be there the next time around, what programs would you cut? Answer, we have already asked agencies to cut 5%. In 2003, $10B short. ??? -- what would you cut? I'd bring together PUC and Railroad Commission, you can consolidate. KBH -- using fed stimulus money for recurring expenses leaves us with a bigger deficit (shot of Perry pursing his lips). I believe in across the board cuts. I'd be looking at the Gov's enterprise fund, not transparent, not producing results. Jobs would have come here anyway. Same ? to Medina -- it's unfortunate that the governor is not taking his own advice. In first fiscal quarter 13.5 increase in spending in the executive branch. We must eliminate property tax, have a consumption tax, $3 billion increase in personal income.

Perry rebuttal -- enterprise fund, most popular with the legislature (tell that to Pitts! Hah!) now he's pretty close to a smirk.

Now, 1 on 1 interviews with the candidates. Slater first. To Hutchison. Clarify support for abortion. Video from first debate "I'm very sure that Roe v Wade is working very well." Playing the video from the last debate. OUCH. Slater, yes or no, do you support overturning the rule that legalized abortion. I'm concerned about what might happen. Justice Roberts said 40 years of settled law that has reduced abortion in this country. Slater--do you really believe that we would have more abortion than we have? KBH -- I have a very strong pro-life voting record. I think the restrictions are good. I have a 94% pro-life voting record. I would sign every law that went into effect in Texas. We need more adoptions. Slater--I think you said that the legalization of abortion should stand. KBH--Those are your words, not mine.

Slater--you voted for prescription drugs, you voted for the bailout plan, isn't this what voters don't like, you vote for Republican spending but against Democratic spending. Gov't takeover of health care, would change the quality of health care in this country, would lead us into socialized medicine. I stayed in the Senate to fight that. Next--if you do resign, won't that put the 41st set at risk. KBH -- There is not a scintilla of a chance that Texas would elect a Republican senator.

Now Medina conversation with moderator--video at Texas secession rally. We are aware that stepping off into secession may be a bloody war, we understand that the tree of freedom may occasionally be watered with the blood of tyrants and patriots. Governor's comments about secession were ill-advised. Thirteen states voted to nullify health care. The governor sat on his hands. THESE TWO FOLKS DON'T KNOW THE CONSTITUTION. We need to aggressively pursue nullification, it's what the founders understood. Next question was about personal liberty. Do you support gay marriage. Should state recognize marriage between two gay people? State has voted to define marriage as between a man and a woman. Next, if we do away with prop tax, wants to apply a tax that is the least oppressive to the economy, somewhere up around 14%.

Now specific questions to Perry from Houston anchorman. You signed a bill to allow illegal immigrants to attend college. (Trying hard to control the smirk, eyes are squinting). If you have students who have worked hard in high school, working toward citizenship, been in Texas, doing work, being productive, absolutely I think that is the right thing to do. ??But what about kid from Oklahoma, is that fair? (Hey, only if they play football for UT or A&M, I can answer that question.) ... you have just referred to senator hutchison voting for sanctuary cities, does that square with what you say about the border. Perry -- trying to connect those two is a stretch. If Washington DC would spend the money, send the troops, it's an abomination that they won't defend that border. Next ??? -- HPV, your own party was against you. I always stand for life. That piece of legislation was not mandatory, I stand proudly by my pro-life position. Next question. DO YOU PROMISE TO SERVE ALL FOUR YEARS. Yes sir.

Now, like Jeopardy. You've talked about jobs. How many private sector jobs were created last year. 2009 was a terrible year. RP -- Texas and Florida only states that had job growth. How many private sector jobs? 95% of jobs were private sector jobs. We lost 270,000 jobs in 09, moderator said. To KBH -- how much of the fence has been built. KBH 150 miles (not bad, it's 105.) Perry was asked about how much unemployment insurance paid. Big grin. He got it on the nose, THEN HE WINKED AT THE QUESTIONER.

Oh lord, they asked KBH who was first governor of Texas. Well, I didn't know either. James Pickney. Asked Medina, what is average pay for school teacher. She guessed 46K. ACED IT!

I missed the KBH question, sorry. She doesn't have a lot of energy tonight.

Next question from a video from a listener. Are you in favor of a progressive income tax. ABSOLUTELY NOT. All taxes are a drag on the economy. We do have an income tax. It's called the business income tax. Thank you governor Perry.

Last video question, to Perry. What would you do to push Congress to secure 100%, not 60%, for teachers who qualify for social security.

Going to take a short break...not me, Belo

Not much fireworks so far.

Now a fact check section.

Slater--you were very bullish about the enterprise fund, but the fact is, there have been real problems, 11 companies weren't meeting their goals, some went to countrywide, and you put 40M in your alma mater. Perry--That was $50 million at Texas A&M. You are absolutely wrong that this is a program with a checkered past. A checkered past was the bailout in Washington D.C. Enterprise fund has a clawback fund. Have to pay money back. Perry, I'm really proud of that program.

Now, repeat question for paying for roads. KBH says again, want to get TxDot reformed before we raise taxes....Would you do away with the Enterprise Fund? I wouldn't do it the way the governor is doing it. We don't need to spend $380 million.

To Medina -- Asked if sales tax would work? She says, real issue is freedom. Private property is freedom. Cites a landlord, if we got rid of property taxes, could drop the rent. Question, wouldn't homebuyers be taxed on purchase. (She punts to the Legislature, up to them.)

What candidates have said about each other. To Medina, Perry said you were tearing down Texas. DM -- I'm a clinician. I'm critical of the governor's leadership, because the government takes more and more. He takes from us so he can pay his corporate friends with his government slush funds.

Slater to Perry .... senator says your trans texas corridor would take private property. Perry -- Legislature said in 05 that you can't take free lanes and make them toll lanes. Now question for KBH. You just heard the governor said the trans Texas corridor is dead. Why do you say it is dead? KBH -- It's not dead. TxDOT protects toll roads from competition. I put an amendment saying you could not toll federal highways and the biggest lobby against it was TxDot.

One minute closings:

I get asked why texas is number one in so many categories

don't spend all the money, use the rainy day fund
don't allow for oversuing

We'll need experienced leadership over the next four years.

KBH claims again that she led the fight against a state income tax. Need to stop the cronyism in state government. We've got to stop it and it will only end when we have a new governor. We have a 30% dropout rate. I will fix the transportation system. I will stop the meddling in our great state university.

Medina -- both of my opponents have received is noteworthy endorsements. The only endorsement I want is yours. She [KBH] says she has answers, but they are the answers of globalization. They [Perry and Hutchison] will continue to run expensive campaign adds.

-----------------------------------------------

So, who won? I think Perry was the clear winner. He got all of his messages out, anti-Washington on highway funding and securing the border, proud of having a vision on transportation. He took a big hit on the Enterprise Fund, but he didn't yield, insisted it would work out. He didn't ever say Everybody wants to move to Texas or engage in a lot of braggadocio. It was pretty clear that he wasn't excited about being there, but every time they took a shot at him he would just grin a little more. I'm sure that he was gritting his teeth behind that grin. When he was asked for information, he knew his stuff cold. He came across as a serious politician. Hutchison had no energy. She was very weak on the issue of how to fund TxDOT. It's like that beer commercial where the guy can't say he loves the girl. Can't get the word out. Ttttaxes. Ttttolls. BBBonds. She wants to audit TxDot. Perry killed her. TxDOT gets audited every two years, he said.

Medina came across as more of an amateur this time. Last time she was spunky. This time she was old news. I was impressed that she nailed the question about how much starting school teachers made. The questions weren't really good for her. She didn't have a lot of opportunity to score points with the tea party crowd. Her issues are pretty esoteric. Property tax versus consumption tax. Nullification. I think this debate was really set up to be a fight between Hutchison and Perry for the GOP base vote, not the crazies. It was her last chance to win them over, and she didn't come close to doing it. Perry by a mile.

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